1.3 million members of Tanzania’s ruling CCM party, in a consultation process or ‘internal referendum’, have reacted overwhelmingly against a previously strongly supported Parliamentary motion that a separate government should be set up for Tanganyika. 61% voted for continuation of the present two-government structure i.e. the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and the Government of Zanzibar; 29% for the establishment of one single government for Zanzibar and the mainland; and, only 8% for the creation of a third government for the mainland.
This decision becomes CCM party policy for forthcoming elections. It is not clear what happened next in Parliament but, according to a heading in the Swahili newspaper ‘Majira’ (August 9), the Group of 55 M.P’s who had been campaigning for a Tanganyika Government were being ‘condemned for being swallowed by the CCM party’. It is believed that there was strong support in parliament for a single government, although this would not be acceptable to Zanzibar. The CCM party did make it clear however that the ultimate aim should be a single government for the country.
TRIUMPH FOR NYERERE
These developments represent a triumph for former President Julius Nyerere who has been waging a crusade to preserve the Union in its present form. He felt that setting up a third government would mean the end of the Union.
Invited to speak at the crucial National Executive Committee meeting of the party during the weekend starting July 30th Mwalimu Nyerere delivered a passionate speech in defence of the constitutional status quo.
Because of the, for him, favourable result of the consultation process, he said that he would not now need to leave the CCM Party, something which he had been contemplating.
ZANZIBAR TO BLAME
At a subsequent press conference he put the blame for what had happened on the Zanzibar government for having ‘taken a series of actions aimed at maximising the Isles’ autonomy in flagrant breach of the constitution’. The main action had been two years earlier when Zanzibar had joined the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) without reference to the Union government (it later withdrew under pressure from Dar es Salaam). This action, Nyerere said, had been the cause of a retaliatory demand for the setting up of a separate Tanganyika (mainland) government, which had attracted the support of many CCM MP’s and senior government personalities. He was very critical of the present (Union) government for ‘first trying to cover up the matter and then taking a year to study an otherwise straightforward case of breach of the constitution’.
Mwalimu Nyerere was also reported to have said that there were some 27 problematic issues concerning the Union which should be dealt with. But CCM party and government leaders could not solve these problems because they were afraid to confront Zanzibar President Dr. Salmin Amour he said.
Some of the ‘Group of 55’ MP’s who had been leading the campaign for a Tanganyika government accused their own CCM party of rigging the results of the consultation. Nyerere hinted that if they were unhappy with the decision they should leave the party. He seemed to almost welcome such an outcome because, only in that way, he said, would Tanzania acquire an effective opposition watchdog in parliament.
FOURTEEN AREAS OF CONFLICT
Minister of Constitutional Affairs Samuel Sitta has admitted that there are fourteen areas in which the 1977 Union Constitution and the 1984 Zanzibar Constitution are in conflict.
On August 10 one of the factors which had aroused the wrath of many Tanzanians – the need for Tanzanian mainlanders to carry passports when visiting Zanzibar – was corrected. In future mainlanders would need only an identity card or letter from an administrative location.
Other administrative problems facing the Union would be the subject of a report to be presented to parliament in the very near future. There had been seven consultative meetings between the two governments recently on Union problems.